Pharma bad boy Martin Shkreli is on the streets again

Former pharma executive Martin Shkreli, who became notorious for raising the price of a lifesaving AIDS drug by around 5,000%, has been released early from his seven-year prison term for defrauding investors.

News that the ‘pharma bro’ is now out of Allenwood Prison in Pennsylvania emerged on social media yesterday, two years after he was ridiculed for a “delusional” request that  he should be let out early in order to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shkreli has been moved to a halfway house after “completing all programmes that allowed for his prison sentence to be shortened”, according to his lawyer Benjamin Brafman, and could be freed completely in September. He had been due to be released from prison in 2023.

Shkreli had been dubbed “the most hated man in America” for his arrogant and defiant posturing whilst acting as chief executive of Turing Pharma, which hiked the price of off-patent HIV drug Daraprim (pyrimethamine) from $13.50 to $750 per tablet – leaving some patients forced to pay up to $16,000 in out-of-pocket co-pays.

That was not the action that led to Shkreli’s sentencing, however. He was found guilty in 2017 of securities fraud schemes involving two hedge funds that he ran, sending fake account statements in order to conceal huge losses, and also convicted of manipulating the price and trading volume of stock in Retrophin, another pharma company he founded in 2011.

In January, Shkreli was ordered to repay $64.6 million after a judge ruled he and others at Turing – now renamed Vyera Pharma – had broken competition laws to keep other suppliers of pyrimethamine off the market and is still on the hook for around $24 million of that total.

He was also banned from working in the pharma industry and running a public company for life.

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